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2-Guest

## Prime Problems: XY Plots

We usually present results graphically, and XY plots are by far the most common format. Prime's XY plots really are garbage, so bad that they make our best work look amateurish. We users are professionals and this nonsense damages our reputations.

What could PTC have been thinking, to release something like this as a product?

Before I detail the horror, I have to acknowledge that PTC did make a couple of improvements: another line type (-...-...) and the ability to have more than two marker lines on the axes. I was glad to see them. Welcome as they were, though, they were far outweighed by the bad decisions.

Some listed below. Anyone care to add to the list?

* No boxed axes, no grid lines. The point of a graph is to display quantitative relationships within data. Prime XY plots don't support quantitative display because readers can't easily read values from the traces without grid lines or at least boxed, ticked axes on both sides. FIX IT!

* No legends for the traces! This is weird, since it is fundamental to multitrace plots. No other plot package has *ever* omitted legends. What Prime calls a "legend" is just the axis expressions for the traces. Suppose I want to plot columns 1, 2 and 3 of matrix H against column 0. The "legend" will be (on the y axis) H_{i,1}, H_{i,2}, etc and not (for example) "annual GDP of USA", "S&P 500 index" and "US trade balance." FIX IT!

* No legend for the axes or title for the graph. Prime tells us unhelpfully to do it ourselves with text boxes. Not only is this a nuisance, it doesn't rotate the text 90 degrees for the Y axis.

* No secondary Y axis. We use this feature commonly when different traces, or groups of traces, have widely disparate ranges. Prime, again unhelpfully, tells us to scale and shift the data of the traces so they all fit on a common Y axis range. This just passes the garbage on to the end reader, who now has to do mental math or run extra calculations just to interpret the graph! (By the way, does anyone know what "document-centric" means?). FIX IT!

* Densely spaced symbols. We use symbols (e.g., +, *, o) in addition to line types to distinguish one trace from another. But Prime puts a symbol on every point - and, for many data sets, it turns a trace into a blur, hiding the line type and the data values. Mathcad solved it by letting us specify the number of points between symbols. FIX IT!

* Marker lines on the Y axis (i.e., horizontal lines) put the callout box containing its value on the axis end, instead of the free end. That simply obscures the box.

* One marker line may show up darker than the others. That makes the end reader ask, "Why? What did the author mean?"

* Mathcad let us determine the axis span and number of divisions (i.e., where to put the tick marks) by typing the values in a dialog box. Prime does the equivalent by letting us type in, on the graph itself, the numerical values of first, second and last tick mark. It's clever enough - but physically harder to do because the numbers are small, when imaged on the screen, and often close together. It ends up being clumsier than Mathcad.

* The traces have muted colours. But we want bright colours on plots, so that the traces stand out and are easily distinguished from each other. After all, those traces are the results of all our preceding work on calculations.

I just reviewed Forum postings from 2010 and 2011 on plots, and some of the problems above existed at that time and remain unfixed, four years later. I don't have much hope for future versions of Prime.

18 REPLIES 18
16-Pearl
(To:jiCavers)

Jim, another splendid analysis!

Somehow, I got the impression that PTC emphasizes the 3D functionality too much. All their arguments circle around the grand 3D plot capabilities of Prime. This reminds me of another 3D issue. My company uses Creo (another PTC product) and is in constant struggle with PTC to get a decent 2D tool for technical drawings. PTC's usual answer is that nowadays nobody needs 2D anymore. They are, as a german proverb goes, immune to advice.

Raiko

19-Tanzanite
(To:Raiko)
 All their arguments circle around the grand 3D plot capabilities of Prime.

Really? If anything, 3D plots are even poorer than the 2D plots. They are woefully inadequate compared to the 3D plots in MC15.

23-Emerald II
(To:Raiko)

@Raiko wrote:

...  This reminds me of another 3D issue. My company uses Creo (another PTC product) and is in constant struggle with PTC to get a decent 2D tool for technical drawings. PTC's usual answer is that nowadays nobody needs 2D anymore. They are, as a german proverb goes, immune to advice.

Reminds of an old joke I heard, when the Campaign for Real Ales was trying to get pubs to include proper beer in their offerings (in addition to, or preferably replacing, the fizzy water that is often called beer or lager).

At one inn, they were trying to get the publican to see sense until he finally, and with great exasperation, said: "Look, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, there's just no demand for the stuff!!!".

As Real Ales are now widely available, perhaps we should consult with CAMRA to get assistance with our CAMRM (Campaign for Real Mathcad)?

24-Ruby III
(To:jiCavers)

Sorry, Jim!

Prime is Prime.

I use both and no problem.

In future I cannot use Mathcad 15 - I can use unly new Prime.

We can compare also plots in Mathcad and in Maple. And what?!

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)
 Valery Ochkov wrote:Sorry, Jim!Mathcad 15 is Mathcad 15.Prime is Prime.I use both and no problem.In future I cannot use Mathcad 15 - I can use unly new Prime.We can compare also plots in Mathcad and in Maple. And what?!

Yes, but Prime is meant to be a later version than Mathcad 15, so why it is inferior? We have had three versions of Prime and still nowhere near the standard of M15.

24-Ruby III
(To:MikeArmstrong)
 Mike Armstrong wrote:Valery Ochkov wrote:Sorry, Jim!Mathcad 15 is Mathcad 15.Prime is Prime.I use both and no problem.In future I cannot use Mathcad 15 - I can use unly new Prime.We can compare also plots in Mathcad and in Maple. And what?!Yes, but Prime is meant to be a later version than Mathcad 15.

No!

Mathcad 15 is meant to be a later version than Mathcad 14!

Yes, with Prime - but it is another problem!

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)

I do not fully understand what you are trying to say, but I feel Jim has raised valid points in the numerous threads he has created.

Why would anyone want to purchase M14?

Mathcad Prime will eventually supercede M15 and it's obvious that the lack of progression is worrying it's users.

24-Ruby III
(To:MikeArmstrong)
 Mike Armstrong wrote:I do not fully understand what you are trying to say, but I feel Jim has raised valid points in the numerous threads he has created.Why would anyone want to purchase M14?Mathcad Prime will eventually supercede M15 and it's obvious that the lack of progression is worrying it's users.

I never fully understand what somboby is trying to say me

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)

24-Ruby III
(To:MikeArmstrong)

We say in Russian

I never fully do not understand what somboby is trying to say me. Doble no!

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)

I like it

24-Ruby III
(To:MikeArmstrong)

A Double No is equal one Yes:

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)

What is a double yes equal to?

24-Ruby III
(To:MikeArmstrong)
 Mike Armstrong wrote:What is a double yes equal to?

Yes

4-Participant
(To:ValeryOchkov)

Not always!

A linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."

A voice from the back of the room retorted, "Yeah, right."

5-Regular Member
(To:ValeryOchkov)

19-Tanzanite
(To:jiCavers)

Another big issue for me is that you can't change the graph defaults and then save that in the default template. So I have to waste time adjusting every graph when I insert it into the worksheet. Another missing feature is symbol weight. It's hard to imagine what they were thinking when they decided we don't need control over the symbol weight.

Prime's 2D plots really are astonishingly poor.

6-Contributor
(To:jiCavers)

Hello Jim,

I just came across this post regarding the plots in Prime.

I agree with you. Graphs (specially 2D-XY) are very important and vital part of our engineering work.

Presentation quality graphs are what we need. Prime, cannot produce such plots.

One important feature of any plot program is the ability to reverse the location of min and max values on the axes.

Plots in MathCad 15 are capable of doing this. Prime do not allow this.

I guess the shortages list can accommodate more and more points.

I do not know how we can put pressure on ptc to do the necessary modifications and corrections.

Regards,

Anousheh

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